Jim Robinson and Joy Glasser Improv for Care Partners of Persons with Dementia

Jim and Joy Meet the wonderful team of Jim Robinson and Joy Glasser who use improv with care partners of loved ones with dementia. Jim has a wonderful background in improv and stand-up comedy and Joy’s a gifted coach and writer. Learn how they started this important partnership and their person journeys in improv and dementia. Jim Robinson has a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California. He teaches improvisation and mental health at Mental Health Resources in Minneapolis. His training in existential psychology emphasized that healing happens in the present through collaborative, inquisitive relationships. As a communication expert, he teaches people to discover the gifts and opportunities in each interaction. (see below for full bio) Joy Glasser received her B.F.A. in Film Production from New York University and her Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language, from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. She is currently a Certified Executive Leadership and Team Building Coach and Consultant who has successfully worked for decades with corporate clients and individuals in a wide range of creative and medical industries. (see below for full bio)

More about Jim: As an improviser, he creates unscripted scenic theater with like-minded actors based on audience suggestions. This expertise—and his extensive experience working with senior citizens—led him to collaborate with Joy on an improvisation-based approach for caregivers of dementia patients. For the past 28 years, Jim has taught developmental psychology and psychopathology at St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas. His work as a professional facilitator includes courses on group processing in the University of Minnesota’s Family Social Science department and Program in Human Sexuality. As a communication specialist, he teaches classes on embodied listening for the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies. As a Fulbright Specialist in Pakistan, Jim brought his course “Improvisation and Mental Health” to universities and psychology training centers in Islamabad and Lahore. He has taught these courses in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Panama as well. In Minnesota, he has used these techniques to work with social workers and nurses, police officers in crisis intervention training, and seminary students. With Joy, Jim has created improvisation workshops that help caregivers navigate the challenges of taking care of dementia patients. In addition, Jim has used his communication and improvisational skills to teach improvisation to senior citizens and international students. His online workshops, including “Managing Culture Shock with the Improvisational Mindset” (with Ethan Goldbach), have been featured through the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan and the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Jim honed these improvisational techniques as a professional actor and writer. He performed on the main stage of Minneapolis’ Brave New Workshop, as a founding member of The Theater of Public Policy, and as cast lead for the Off-Beat Comedy Club onboard the Disney Magic. He currently teaches classes on improvisation and managing stage fright at the Guthrie Theater. Jim lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His career has focused on one important message: being in the moment is the most powerful place to be. More about Joy: Some of Joy’s clients include Godiva Chocolate, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Politico, Simon & Schuster, Catapult, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and director, physicians at Allina Health, the support team at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic, and physicians and department chairs at the nationally recognized trauma-one hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, MN. She continues to focus on facilitating workshops, training, and individual and group coaching in order to heighten self-awareness and communication within teams and for individuals. Joy also created communication workshops for continuing legal education through the Minnesota State Bar Association. For years she gave talks at universities about navigating mental health challenges within the family system and served as a breast cancer patient advocate at Allina Health. She is also the caregiver voice on the board of The Cognitive and Memory Program. Joy’s path began in education. Her desire to learn more about communication brought her to a highly regarded coaching and leadership school, the Coach Training Institute in San Rafael, CA. Afterward, she developed a coaching program for school districts in the Twin Cities metropolitan area where she taught coaching skills to educators and parents emphasizing communication and behavioral skills for their students. Growing out of that experience, her coaching and teaching skills have directly transferred to her current work with physician faculty, department chairs, and residents at Hennepin County Medical Center. She guides her clients in the self-reflection process so they can develop a leadership identity with leadership skills. With Joy’s diverse and rich background and life experiences, she has creatively cultivated the perfect use of her talents—helping others navigate caregiving a patient with dementia. Stepping out of her comfort zone, Joy has taken a few years of improvisation classes and wound up having more fun than she thought. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Joy’s website: glassergroup.net Jims website:  https://jimrobinsonmn.com Jims Applied Improv blog on teaching improvisation in Pakistan and Bangladesh (Yes, AndIslamabad and Beyond: Improv on the Road”): https://jimrobinsonmn.com/blogs/ Our Audio Editor for Improv Interviews is Bright Su. You may enjoy hearing from improv teachers and innovators including Colin Mochrie and David Pasquesi 

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